Archives for posts with tag: confusion

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No lamp post was hurt during this shooting.
I couldn’t figure out if the one featured here was planted like this on purpose or by mistake.
Fact is that instead of being vertical it is perpendicular on the alley. Which goes down a steep hill!

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There are a lot of definitions available for these concepts. I’ve found out that Google offers the blandest ones so I’ll use those. You’ll understand why.

a. “An experience involving the apparent perception of something not present
b. “An extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.”
c. “An optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions, especially the appearance of a sheet of water in a desert or on a hot road caused by the refraction of light from the sky by heated air.

If we follow the ‘dispassionate’ line used by Google we’ll notice that the ‘real’ problem is us, not a. b. or c.

We are the ones who are not able to figure out the source of the perception in a, the explanation for what happens in b and to reconcile what we know with what we see in c.

More than 35 years ago, while in college, I had to study ‘Marxism’. It was considered a science by the communists and all students had to take that class.
Marxism is a reaction against the idealist thesis that reality consists entirely of minds or spirits and of their experiences or ideas. The materialist conception of history, Marx and Engels contend, postulates the existence of an objective, concrete reality that is independent of human consciousness and is also its determinant“.

For a future engineer, and one that wasn’t particularly concerned with religion, the concept seemed appealing.
Something was nagging me though. In time I understood that Marx was making a huge mistake when conflating ‘objective’ with ‘real’ and individual consciousness with the collective one.
Also what he termed ‘reality’ is not that independent from consciousness as he would liked it to be.

I’ll start with the second idea.

We coined the term/concept of reality.
How’s that for ‘real’ independence?

Is there anything outside my individual knowledge/consciousness?
A lot.
Do I care?
Sometimes yes but most of it is both absolutely inconsequential for me and way out of my grasp. So my accepting its very existence depends decisively on ‘hearsay’ and faith…

Is there anything outside our collective knowledge/consciousness?
Probably yes. Hard to believe that we already know everything, right? Particularly since we discover something new each moment…
‘We discover’?!?
So it’s us who are ‘conquering’ more and more ‘reality’?!?
Wasn’t it supposed to be independent from us?

OK, you probably got it, I won’t bother you anymore with this.

Let me go back to ‘objective’ versus ‘real’.

Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions.
Actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.”

If we gather five children who haven’t yet seen a tarmac road scorched by the July Sun and take them to Arizona they’ll tell us, excitedly but objectively, that the road is boiling out there near the horizon.
We, the grown ups, know that’s a mirage. For them, it’s a miracle.
For a single child – one that knows the concept, of course – it might seem a hallucination, specially if he doesn’t have another person to speak to about what he sees.

Some independence… But wait, there’s more.

You are reading this on a computer. (If you call it a smartphone you are deluding yourself. It’s a computer that you can also use as a phone). Is it ‘really’ real?
According to Marx, I mean.
If your consciousness hasn’t yet digested effectively its ‘user manual’ that computer is little more than an useless  piece of junk… Not to mention the fact that its processor would still be a little pile of sand if not for an entire string of consciousnesses – from INTEL’s CEO to the driver who delivered it to the assembly plant and they are only a few of those involved in the process.

The fact is that we change the reality around us. We build cities, roads to connect them and power plants so we can cool our homes in summer.

And then we pretend reality is independent from us.
Who’s delusional now?

There is a small difference between the first two and the last one.
The car and the pills where supposed to be safe while the guns have been purposefully designed to be deadly.
Just as ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, guns are dangerous only if used inappropriately while a badly designed car or some tainted pills are dangerous no matter what!

Just found this in my inbox:

A little boy was waiting for his mother to come out of the grocery store.
As he waited, he was approached by a man who asked, “good morning young
man, can you tell me where the Post Office is?”

The little boy replied, “Sure! Just go straight down this street a coupla
blocks and turn to your right.”

The man thanked the boy kindly and said, “I’m the new pastor in town.  I’d
like for you to come to church on Sunday…I’ll show you how to get to
Heaven.”

The little boy replied with a chuckle.  “You’re bullshitting me, right?
……You don’t even know the way to the Post Office!”

Deutsche Bank is sitting on more than $75 Trillion in derivatives bets — an amount that is twenty times greater than German GDP.

Both the next 3D printer and Deutsche Bank derivatives portfolio were designed by us, the human people.
When are we going to get our act together?

“We research and develop groundbreaking, cost-effective robotic technology with which we can 3D-print beautiful, functional objects in almost any form,” wrote MX3D on the project Web page. “The ultimate test? Printing an intricate, ornate metal bridge for a special location to show what our robots and software, engineers, craftsmen and designers can do.”

And why do we need the pope to remind us that the Earth is the only home we’ve got?


“Scientists weary after years of often vicious opposition by doubters of their climate-change findings see this year as crucial to the planet’s future because of a religious document expected from Pope Francis on Thursday. The rare encyclical, or teaching letter, expected to promote climate action as a moral imperative could do more to slow global warming than international negotiations this year to limit greenhouse gas emissions, scientists say.”

Oh, I forgot. Right now we are still under ‘the spell’, we have somehow convinced ourselves that having money, loads of it, trumps every thing else.

We’ll get over it, sooner or later. Francis Bacon has already warned us, all we need is to remember.

Or, even better, we can ask ourselves:

What is money, instrument or goal?

Activists dismantle Ukraine’s biggest monument to Lenin at a rally in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Sept. 28, 2014. Photo: Igor Chekachkov/Associated Press

Wall Street Journal reports that Ukrainian people are somewhat baffled by  a new law banning the use of Soviet (and Nazi) symbols.

“While few outside Crimea and the rebel strongholds of eastern Ukraine want to join Russia, not all Ukrainians are ready to repudiate a joint history that remains dear to many across generations.

“I wanted to tell my child that there was ‘Uncle Lenin,’ and at one point Mama took part in a big celebration in Kiev” in honor of the first Soviet leader, said 37-year-old Svetlana Arshavina, who lives in this suburb northwest of the capital.

“Now what will I tell her? That they took Uncle Lenin and smashed him to pieces?” she asked.”

Isn’t it rather strange that the nephews of those who survived the 1921 Famine still harbor any respect for the likes of Lenin?

http://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-tries-adapting-to-life-without-lenin-1432324644
https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/article/other/5rfhjy.htmhttp://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/famine-1919.htm

That’s one way to look at it.
Sometimes it might indeed resemble a punishment but please remember the many times when common sense prevented us from making huge mistakes that might have ruined our lives.

Government officials throwing self serving smoke screens.
Everything here is true except for the last sentence.
As long as CEO’s, the rich and the corporations don’t understand this simple economic principle no amount of legislation will achieve much, except for further de-balancing the economy.
In fact minimum wage encourages employers to pay as low as possible instead of letting them pay so low as to see their working force disappearing in the dark.
The fact is that by setting this minimum wage the government suggests to the employers that: ‘it’s OK for you to try to pay as low as possible but you cannot over do it and we’ll tell you where to stop.’ That’s why the employers no longer compete among themselves to get the best available workforce – which, if well managed, produces excellent long term results. The competition on the labor market has been ‘degraded’ to ‘who is able to have the lowest labor costs’ only this policy sometimes generates good enough results on the short term but never fails to lead to disastrous results on longer term. The work force is demoralized, no longer cares to improve its qualifications and aggregate consumption goes down for  lack of solvable demand.

This concentration on costs instead on overall efficiency is malignant. Offering employees  a living wage and decent working conditions vastly improves efficiency and, ultimately, bottom line results. Henry Ford had understood that more than 100 years ago. How come we have already forgotten?

The Story of Henry Ford’s $5 a Day Wages: It’s Not What You Think:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/03/04/the-story-of-henry-fords-5-a-day-wages-its-not-what-you-think/

A fact is just that, a mere fact.
An acknowledged fact asks for an interpretation, otherwise the human mind finds it hard to accept its very existence.

An interpretation that seems to make sense becomes an understanding and regardless of that understanding being right or wrong it generates a belief.
Until that understanding is proven wrong and even then… eventually a new understanding is generated and, in its turn, it leads to a new belief.

That’s why we should indeed reserve the right Patton Oswalt speaks about and then use it sparingly, only when other believers tries to forcefully impose their beliefs on us.

In fact Oswalt is right. We don’t have to respect other people’s beliefs, only their right to have their own beliefs.

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